My activity update to 30 September as College Wards’ Residents Association Councillor by Cllr. Nigel Collin
September has been a very busy month, post the Council’s August recess.
On 2 September the monthly meeting of RA Councilors took place. The meeting was mainly focused on the detailed consideration of the Master Plan which forms part of the local plan, soon to be presented to residents.
Planning Committee meetings were held on 5 September and 17th (special meeting re South Hatch Stables). Both meetings were very well attended by interested residents and the decisions reached at both meetings were vocally objected to by those attending. The meeting on 5 September approved the planning re the land at Epsom High School and residents were very concerned about traffic congestion. The South Hatch stables application was approved by use of the Chair’s casting vote although, given the green belt encroachment, it now has to go to the Secretary of State for approval. Residents are compiling a request for the application to be called in by the Secretary of State.
On 7 September, having volunteered to do so, I was a Marshall on the Borough’s Walk and was most encouraged by the resilience of the 50 or so residents who took part in this very well-organized activity.
On 10 September the Financial Policy Panel met to consider the adequacy of the Council’s reserves and the policy for the future. After due consideration the policy was unanimously approved as proposed by the Head of Finance.
12 & 13 September was devoted to Epsom General Hospital (EGH) matters with the stakeholder reference group meeting on 12th and the Hospital trust meeting on 13th.
The main point emerging from the stakeholder reference group was that no decision re EGH had been taken. Consultation would not place until funding had been confirmed and the bid for a new hospital at Sutton, now increased to £500m, was the largest in the London area and one of the largest in the country. In January 2020 this project will have been running for 2 years and the Project’s Director felt that it will have to be closed , if no decision on financing is reached shortly.
The Epsom and St Helier Trust (EST) meeting was the outgoing chair’s last meeting. From next month the new chair is Gillian Norton, currently chair of St George’s Hospital. Gillian will be chair in common of St George’s and EST. We were assured that Gillian is aware of Epsom’s status as a Surrey hospital and is supportive of its continuation as such.
We were assured that EGH’s future is secure until 2025, irrespective of funding for Sutton. The trust Board is working on a plan B, to be presented in March 2020, in the event that funding is not forthcoming for a new site.
On a positive note the CQC has recently published its inspection report and has graded EST as good “from requires improvement”.
On 15 September I was at the Rotary Fayre at the Hook arena, assisting on the Twinning stand with Chantilly. The Chantilly folk were as pleasant as ever and discussions were held about possible events to be held in the forthcoming year.
On 16 September I attended the Local Committee meeting at Bourne hall where parking restrictions were considered. Among other non-ward restrictions, Parking Restrictions were passed in respect of Wallace Fields, The Ridings and Bridge Road, all of which had been requested by ward residents. These proposals will now be put forward for the 28-day residents’ consultation.
On 17 September The CIL panel met to finalize the successful bid allocations for the current year. In total 7 bids were successful amounting in total to £232k and should benefit all residents in the Borough. The sacksful bidders will be notified shortly, and a press relief will then be issued.
On 19 September Councilors attended a presentation on the evolving Master Plan, which feeds into the Local Plan. The work had been prepared by external consultants and was a work in progress to demonstrate what the future of Epsom might look like. The presentation will be revised after Councilors’ comments.
On 24 September I attended the Strategy and Resources Committee where matters considered included local council tax support scheme, local plan consultation cost, flexible housing support grant, review of polling places and budget targets for 2020/21. All resolutions were passed unanimously.